How Online Search and Social Media Have Changed PR

How Online Search, SEO and Social Media Have Changed the Face of Public Relations

By Amanda Miller Littlejohn | Follow on Twitter @amandamogul

Back when I was a newspaper reporter, whenever I got word of a new story, I immediately headed to Google. I wanted to find out all that I could on my potential story subjects.  And if I didn’t do my due diligence prior to editorial meetings with my editors and other reporters, I’d look like a jerk when I couldn’t answer basic questions about why the story was newsworthy.

If a company, organization or person pitched me and they had no online presence, they were already at a disadvantage, ESPECIALLY if they had competitors who were better optimizing the online space.

That was about five years ago, so imagine how things have changed. I lost my newspaper job when the paper downsized, and since then I’ve watched as newspaper colleagues have born the brunt of a shifting industry; they’re working longer, harder, posting incessantly and struggling to keep pace with the 24-hour news cycle.

Tweets are now taken as short-hand quotes; a cursory Google search and email interview may be the only interaction a journalist has with the subject before the story goes live. So, a question. If a journalist is searching for your company, what are they going to find?

As a DC-based public relations professional, I find myself on the other side, making sure my clients are going hard on the offensive by populating the web with content they want to share. Through publishing blog posts, tweets, videos, status updates, white papers, surveys and other pieces of content, I make sure my clients get to tell their stories first.

I recently attended the Vocus Users Conference in downtown Baltimore and got a chance to talk briefly with Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing-the industry leader in online marketing and SEO matters. Lee was gracious enough to answer the question of how online search and social media have changed the face of PR. Please forgive my iPad production-it was my first time using the iPad to shoot a video interview.

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